Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Monday, May 20, 2019

Chick graduation day

Our first patch of chicks have graduated to the outdoor starter coop! Autumn is checking out her new chargers that she will watch over. 

The girls took to their new home, scratched and pecked around. These breeds are Golden Laced Wyandottes, a single Buff Orphingto and Americanas.

This chick is a Blue Americana. A dream chicken for us.

Another Americana with Blue tints, just beautiful. It`s great to have them as chicks but when they grow so fast, its great to get them out. We have other new breeds that will be heading out soon too!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

In search of the Queen

Since acquiring our bees a few weeks ago, Hive #4 has been struggling. During routine inspections I noted that the Queen was just walking around, no eggs,  no baby bees and the bees didn't seem to be interested in attending to her. To save the hive, which would have perished without a Queen, I borrowed a frame from each of the stronger hives. The frames had eggs and bee larvae. This was done in hope that they would grab a few and create a Queen. If you look at the above picture (which is upside down) that is a queen cell that is capped. Note the little white worm looking things in the cells, those are baby bees under 10 days old.

On this frame there are a couple queen cells and more baby bees!

If you look in the 2 larger cells visible on this frame, especially the one on the left, in there is a baby Queen! So there is  hope for this hive after all! Fingers crossed that they are successful in rearing a Queen!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Solving Life's problems one step at a time

I was in a local department store and I saw it, the beacon, a ray of hope, the solution to one of my biggest issues, sweating in my bee suit. Last year I bought a vented bee suit and that helped but the veil still can be so hot. But then I found this mini fan! 

Today for the first time, I anchored it on a part of the bee suit and it fit perfect! 

I them turned it on, and oh my! I went to work in the bee yard and didn't sweat once! I was in pure heaven! Who knew? A simple $3.00 mini fan could solve one of my biggest issues with keeping my bees!

And while I was toiling away in the bee yard, Tim here was enjoying himself a cocktail! Well I guess we are both happy!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Failure to Thrive

Failure to thrive in chicks can have many under lying causes. The issue can range from nutrition, proper heat, parasite issues, bacterial issues, or a lack of proper organ development. These 2 chicks were the same exact age. The larger one grew, was healthy and thrived. She began to develop feathers. These two chicks were over 2 weeks old here. The smaller one struggled and did not thrive. I had made a decision to cull the smaller one but she passed within an hour of this picture. This is the sad reality of raising chickens. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Flock, ever expanding...

This year and probably our final year, we are adding new breeds to the flock. 

We added some of my dream breeds to the flock and I can't wait to see them grow!

These Golden Wyandottes are just the cutest! 

I made them dig for this Blue Americana! I'm just in love! We also added Buff Orpingtons, Cuckoo Marans, Speckled Sussex, Laced Wyandottes, Welsummers, Olive Easter Eggers, Blue Andalusian and my favorite, Lavender Orpingtons! 

This year we also invested in this chick warmer. It's safe and adjustable. A friend recommended it to me and I just love it. As the chicks grow, it grows with them. I love the dome on it, they can't sit on it and poop all over it!

With 30 new little peeps on board, our brooder is full. My grandfather would be proud, WE are using his old stainless steel tub. It has come into good use.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival 2019

The Connecticut Sheep and Wool Fest is behind us now and we'd like to thank all those who shopped and supported us!  We had an amazingly great day even with the cold and windy weather ripping through the barns!

Thanks to Naomi who not only let me borrow this amazing shabby chic shutter but also gave me a ride to the Festival. Between her and Tim they got me there and back! 

Our sign hung proud...

Of course I had to feed my fleece addiction! This beautiful Corriedale fleece was ear marked for the Historical Society but a nice friend graciously donated the exact same fleece for the Society so it's all mine!

A neighbor booth had these beautiful pin keeps! I just wished they had one in a raccoon! I didn't get a chance to look around much but what I saw, the other vendors had some very nice things!

Maple syrup sold by our neighbor! Of course Tim had a chat with him.

One of the best pieces of news I heard was that the Festival is moving next year! The Festival will be closer to home and we are excited! 

Friday, April 12, 2019

The things you'll find!

Today I was cleaning out the hives to get them ready for the bees who will be arriving over the next couple of days. I opened the first hive and found this beautiful wolf spider just sitting there. She was moved over to an empty box and hopefully she will move on.

The next hive, when I opened it I thought I saw something poke it's head up but I thought I was seeing things. I pulled some frames out and found this nest. If you look close, it is made with alpaca fiber! The alpacas are a good distance away from the hives so this mama mouse has been working over time making the perfect nest.

When I pulled the box off, a mouse ran under the hive with 2 of her babies attached to her. She left these two behind! I quickly covered it back up and left the area. You can see the milk in their bellies so they were recently fed.

I left the entrance open slightly like she had it. I did check back a couple of hours later, she had returned the other 2 back to the nest thank goodness! I left her a couple pieces of kibble and will allow her to use the hive until she is done raising her babies!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Signs of Spring!

Signs of Spring are everywhere! We are so busy getting ready for Spring! The crocus are up!

These gorgeous daffodils are up and open. I did not plant these, they popped up on the hill a few years ago. Whatever type they are, they are gorgeous!

The Elderberry bushes we planted last year are budding and we are excited to see if we get berries this year!

It wouldn't be Spring without chicks! These girls arrived today, so sweet and tiny! They are Golden Laced Wyandottes. We are so excited to add these to our flock! These girls were early arrivals, with more chicks coming in a couple of weeks. We will be adding another new breed then as well. 

Can you stand the cuteness? OMG they are so cute! The sound of peeping from the dining room keeps drawing me to go stare at them. Welcome Spring and the busy season to prepare! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

We seem to have an under acheiver!

It's seems we have an under achiever or did this chicken forget something?! Small eggs like this happen in the process of the chicken laying. Some terms for these small eggs are called "Fart eggs' "dwarf eggs" or "fairy eggs".

This happens when the chicken doesn't have a yolk for the egg to develop around. They can range in size to even smaller than the one pictured. We don't see this often but it is funny when you are collecting eggs and one is there.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Too pink?

Is there such a thing as too pink? You bet it is! I was trying to go for a subtle pink, soft and baby like but got this! Did I read my notes on the bottle? That would be no! So I have dyed 7 ounces of alpaca fiber the very color I didn't want. However, there is truly no such thing as a dyeing mistake because you can always use it for something. 
Happy April everyone! April is such a busy time here on the farm! Baby chicks, honeybees and baby bunnies are all on the way! So stay tuned for some adorable cuteness overload! This year we are introducing some new breeds of chickens to our flock! Enjoy the warm weather and get outside! Winter is over and new life is everywhere!

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Art of Plying

With fingers and feet busy, I have been spinning 3 years of alpaca fiber. Last week I spun a few spools of fiber with the intention of plying.

The left spool is from our alpaca, "Awan" and the right one is from our "Winchester", with about 300 yards each of some lace weight yarn, tightly spun. This helps with plying and also is great for my affinity to over spin! 

My technique, not a science by any means but the best way I keep an easy ply is, what I call the "V". Allowing the wheels tension pull at the "V" and keeping just the right pace, spinning in the opposite direction to unspin the over spun yarn...

gives me a consistent, nicely spun yarn! I am quite pleased with this yarn. It's been some time since I have plyed yarn. I have been enjoying "Art Yarns" for some time now that I forgot how much fun plying a beautiful yarn can be.

And there we have it, 300 yards of 100% alpaca, plyed and ready to go to the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Compliments of "Cyrus"

In my continuing effort to get 3 years of Alpaca Fiber processed, dyed, spun and packaged I am enjoying fun with color. Blending color is out of my comfort zone. While I prefer natural colors as a personal preference but this has been an adventure. Lots of time home these days, so lots of time to keep my mind occupied around dyeing.

When will I learn to wear gloves? I look like I have fell into a vat of rainbows!

Always careful to keep the bottles with the dyes so I don't use the wrong one. I often would double check the dyes as well. With a color scheme in my head but sometimes it's not always what you thought, leaving a sweet surprise of color.

I found using the back of a spoon helped to get the color to absorb through all the fibers. Pressing helped to push the color down. At times if I wanted a pastel, filling the squirt bottle with water and then flushing the color worked too.

It all couldn't have happened without this big sweet guy, "Cyrus"! He donated his fiber for the cause! It's soft and light and spins amazingly!

Here are some of the 3 ounce batts we will have available at the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival on April 27th! Come and visit our booth!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Even more dyeing...

I decided to try some further dyeing. I decided to work with a combination of different colors. Starting from the center and working the color in a circle.

Still leaving a bleeding line between each color. I did fill it in a little bit more and did get some nice results. I did bake it again at 225 degrees for and hour and a half which seems to be a good amount of time. This time I elevated it higher as well.

And the results were quite pleasing! 

This was fun and the results were even better! I tried to work colors together that would bleed different colors when mixed. I am loving the challenge and results that this technique brings!